How To Clean A Crawl Space Like A Pro: Easy Steps

Do you have a crawl space (or other nook or cranny of your home) that needs a little TLC?

You’re not alone! In fact, many homeowners find themselves in the same predicament as you’re probably in.

It may surprise you to discover that the crawl space beneath your home contributes significantly to energy efficiency, which lowers your energy bill.

Protecting the indoor air quality in your home starts with a clean crawl space.

Crawl space insulation is a component of the whole package when it comes to improving your home’s air quality.

You’ll notice the energy use in your heating and cooling bills decrease when you seal out drafts and insulate properly.

In a Hurry?

Here’s a list of materials and the right equipment you need to clean a crawl space:

  • Brooms and brushes for sweeping up dust and dirt
  • Work gloves so you don’t damage your hands while cleaning
  •  Protective eyewear in case dust starts flying around during your clean
  • Drop sheet(s) so you can cover surfaces where necessary
  •  Content type1 gallon of detergent
  •  TSP substitute if the area is particularly large
  • Vacuum cleaner for sucking up any remaining dirt/debris
  • 1 can of fungicide to seal moisture-prone areas.

If you’re going to clean a crawl space yourself, ‌wear a respirator mask and protective gear,  to avoid exposure to mold spores or other harmful substances.

You should also use gloves, goggles, and boots while working in the crawl space.

That’s because a damp crawl place or space is an ideal environment for dust mites, bacteria, and mildew growth.

But how do you clean a crawl space properly?

In this article, we’ll explore some common problems associated with a damp place or damp crawl spaces,  and how to clean them properly.

Steps in Cleaning a Crawl Space Properly:

  1. First step, you need to wear protective gear like respirator mask.  
  1. Clear out anything unnecessary from the space, especially hazardous materials like electrical components. 

This includes any old furniture, clothing items, or storage containers lying around.

  1. The next step is clearing out any insulation in the crawl space.
  1. Remove all contaminated materials such as insulation, wood, flooring, cardboard boxes, plenty of food, etc.
  1. Then check to see if there are any cracks and gaps in the floor above and seal them as quickly as possible.

Doing so will help to keep things out of the crawl space in the future.

  1. Clean all exposed wood with an EPA registered fungicide to kill any existing mold (if present).
  1. Dry out any water with fans and dehumidifiers.
  1. The last thing to do is to make sure that you have a vapor barrier like spray foam, foam board, or polystyrene insulation installed on the crawl space floor of the crawl space.
  1. You can also install a French drain system for optimum results to prevent moisture from getting into it, in the first place, even if you work on it in just a couple of hours.

Common Problems Associated with Damp Crawl Spaces:

1. Structural damage

The moist conditions can cause wood rot in your home’s structural elements such as support beams, floor joists, and subflooring, resulting in expensive repair bills.

Wood rot and peeling paint are just a few of the issues that can result from moisture in the damp crawl space.

2. Rodent droppings

Urine and nesting materials can lead to disease and infection if they are left in the damp crawl space, without being removed or cleaned up.

Insects, such as termites, are attracted to moist environments found in damp crawl spaces.

3. Moisture issues

Moisture build-up causes problems such as rotten wood, poor air quality, and musty odors inside your home.

When moisture penetrates a crawl space insulation, it causes the insulation to lose its insulating properties.

This can allow cold air from outside to penetrate into the living spaces of your home, which can increase the costs of heating your home during cold weather.

4. Health Hazards

Wet crawl space causes mold to grow in our homes, which can be very hazardous to our health.

 Mold spores are very small particles that float around in the air through air ducts or floor vents, which can pose serious health hazards for you and your family.

These particles can cause respiratory complications, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, allergic reactions, sinus congestion, and headaches.

If you want to get rid of all crawl space problems at once, the best solution is crawl space encapsulation.

This process involves sealing off the entire crawl space from the elements, creating an airtight barrier that prevents moisture, mold, and rot from growing in the area.

Most important of all is that,  encapsulation prevents moisture from getting into your home through air leaks around windows and doors.

 It is also a good idea to install a crawl space dehumidifier in the crawl space to keep the air dry and moisture-free.

If there are still odors present,  and before it leads to a big problem,  please contact a reputable company for crawl space cleanup or crawl space cleaning services.

With your crawl space problems,  they can do a free crawl space inspection, square feet insulation and free estimate of the cost with free consultation.

Important Tips:

  • Avoiding  crawl space flooding is always the best solution.
  • You should always check your sump pump to guarantee that it works properly to prevent water damage caused by water leaks when it pours.
  • A prefabricated crawl space is an excellent replacement for a vented crawl space, though it’s more expensive.


 Q: What damage can I incur if my crawl space isn’t cleaned regularly?

A: If you have an older home and have a dirty or wet basement or crawl space, then you are not only welcoming pollutants into your living environment.

You are also providing pests with protection and moisture, leading to serious structural damage‌.

Dirt floors can provide breeding grounds for spiders, mites, insects, and fungus, which will travel up walls, damaging wallpaper, paintwork, and woodwork as they go.

Q: Are there additional risks to having a dirty crawl space?

A: Yes, excess dirt and grime can cause elevated levels of moisture which can lead to wet rot and mold.

Also, if the crawl space is not well-ventilated,  it can cause poor air quality within your home,  causing many people’s respiratory problems,  such as allergies and asthma.

Q: What should I do if my crawl space has a bad smell? 

A: A musty, earthy, or moldy odor usually means that dirt and moisture are present.

This can be an indication of high levels of humidity or general dampness,  which can lead to further structural damage and health problems.

If there is a foul odor in your crawl space,  then you need to get rid of it quickly,  before it causes long-term damage,  not only inside your home but also on any surrounding vegetation.


So now you know how to properly clean your crawl space.

Hopefully, the information in this article will have increased your understanding of how to properly clean the crawl space.

And if you have your own tips or suggestions for others, ‌share them with us in the comments below! 

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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